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For Byron Wolfe of Villa Hills, Christmas is coming a bit early: a new kidney on Dec. 20 from an old friend

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune Reporter

It’ll be an early Christmas for Byron Wolfe.

He’ll celebrate with his present, Tuesday, December 20.

That’s the date the 69-year-old resident of Villa Hills receives his kidney transplant from his donor.

“It’s a date,” Wolfe said, “I was contacted today by my transplant coordinator.”

Doctors will remove the donor’s kidney in Indianapolis and ship it to Christ Hospital for the transplant procedure, Wolfe explained.

“Can’t say I’m not nervous, but I’m also excited to be on this journey,” he said.

It’s been quite the journey for Wolfe, who spends three-days-a-week at the Davita Dialysis Center in Crestview Hills for some three-hour treatments.

Byron Wolfe

That journey was aided by a good friend of Wolfe’s – Kelly Hansen, the lead-singer of the rock band, Foreigner.

“I’m swell-known in the gourmet industry,” Wolfe told the Northern Kentucky Tribune during one of his Crestview Hills sessions, “and Kelly is a big gourmet cook. We’ve been friends for some time.”

Wolfe is in sales management with Market Force.

So, it was only natural a friend reached out to a friend.

Kelly Hansen posted this message on his Instagram account:

“A good friend of mine and the band’s, Byron Wolfe is suffering end-stage renal disease ESRD. He started Dialysis in May and is in need of a kidney transplant, preferably from a live donor, blod type O+. I know this is a long-shot, but I thought spreading the word to the beautiful Foreigner world could help! If you or someone you know might be willing to help, please contact Breanna Bronson at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Oh 513-585-1427.

“Donation costs are covered by Byron’s insurance and all your medical info will be kept confidential. Byron and his wife Carla have always been so gracious to me for years and he has been very helpful in helping forward my food-cooking edeavors. Oh, and of course, you’ll get Foreigner tickets whenever you want.”

There’s more – much more.

So Byron’s wife took that social media post – put it on her Facebook account and viola – call it minor miracle.

No – make that a major miracle.

Just in time for the holiday season.

“We received a message from one of Carla’s old elementary school friends,” Byron said. “They live in Vincennes, Ind. and said they would be visiting Cincinnati with family, and asked if we wanted to have breakfast together. Sure, we hadn’t seen them in a year.”

The visitors showed up on a Sunday morning in May at Wolfe’s home – this after reading Carla’s re-post of Hansen’s maessage.

“They came in, sat down, and we rehashed old, fun times we had together in the past,” Wolfe said.

The talk came full-circle around to Byron’s failed kidneys and he told his breakfast guests – Duke and Joanna – that Dialysis is no fun, but it beats the alternative.

“We discussed the letter that Foreigner had put on his Instagram and how neat it was to get that endorsement,” he said.

Then, according to Byron – Duke started to get teary-eyed and he asked if he could do him a favor.

“Duke asked me to tell the staff at my Dialysis that I would not be needing them anymore. He told me I had found a donor – and it was him
“I was in shock then – and I’m still in shock when I think about it,” said Wolfe. “I was up all night crying for joy.”

Wolfe said Duke was going through testing for a few months and didn’t know he was a match for Byron until the week prior to their visit.

“They actually drove all the way from Vincennes to shock Carla and me with this incredible news,” Wolfe said. “I had been bugging my transplant team to give me some news about the lead, but HIPPA laws prevented them from telling me anything.”

So a donor shows up on the doorstep with life-changing news.

“I’m a firm believer in The Lord and prayer,” said Wolfe.

And Foreigner.

Merry Christmas, Byron Wolfe.

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